Three Cheese Macaroni

Comfort Food: Lasagna

BBQ Grilled Cheese

Pork Sandwiches

Better Late than Never They Always Say

Monday, May 24, 2010

I had two people participate in my April Challenge. I'm sure you're saying to yourself "it's almost June, why are you talking about April?" I know, I'm sorry. Let's just say it's been a hectic month. Heck, I got up at 4:00am this morning, simply because I couldn't sleep anymore. Does that help?
Unlike past months, I'm going to put all the April Challenges in one post - because at 4:00am, I like to keep things simple. The first recipe is my own, but please vote for the other two! I already have enough cheese.

I've always wanted to make homemade gnocchi. In all honesty, the pasta isn't really THAT tasty. I mean, you can add some good sauce or sides with it, but in the end, it's still potato noodle. Sort of...  I'm fascinated by it though, so I decided to make some of my own. I couldn't just make plain old gnocchi though, I had to make pumpkin flavored. Warning - this recipe makes  A LOT of gnocchi.

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Shaved 

1 1/2 pounds white potatoes, about 3 large, peeled, diced and boiled until tender
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup finely grated Parm
1 egg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp all spice
1 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste
2 to 2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for rolling out dough
Salted water, for cooking gnocchi
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 T. sage, minced
1/2 cup shaved Parm

Allow cooked potatoes to cool slightly. While still warm, puree potatoes and let cool to room temperature (or set in the freezer for a few minutes.) Add the pumpkin puree, cheese, egg, cinnamon, all spice, salt and pepper and mix well. Gradually add enough flour to form a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Briefly knead the dough to incorporate the four, being careful not to overwork.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Cut the dough into six equal pieces and place one piece on a lightly floured work surface. Roll piece into a long rope (this is difficult if you didn't add enough flour). Slice the rope into pieces 1/2-inch round and wide. Holding one piece at a time, roll the tines of a fork against the dough until slight indentations are formed. Repeat with each piece of dough, setting formed gnocchi on a floured kitchen towel or baking sheet.

Add gnocchi to the boiling water and cook until they have risen to the top (about 2-3 minutes). Remove the cooked gnocchi with a slotted spoon and set aside while making sauce or sides.

In a skillet over high heat, add the butter and let sit undisturbed until it has begun to caramelize. Add minced sage and let cook for 30 seconds longer. Feel free to add other ingredients at this point. Season with salt and pepper and add gnocchi. Toss ingredients in pan until gnocchi gets slightly crispy (I'm a texture person). I served my gnocchi with pan-fried sage chicken and a cucumber, tomato salad.

Don't forget to clean up your mess!

Challenger #1

Mushroom Ravioli with ricotta, Parmesan, and pine nuts with a tomato white port sauce

2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Olive Oil (or vegetable oil)
2 large Eggs
1 pinch Salt
1 - 2 tbsp Water

Whisk or beat with fork eggs, olive oil and water.
Make mountain of flour (sprinkle salt on top) on any flat surface, and form well in the center of it.
Pour in ½ of egg mixture and begin forming dough with 2 fingers while supporting the mound of flour with other hand, adding in the rest of the egg mixture once the dough gets going.
Kneed dough for 8 - 10 minutes, flouring surface with semolina as needed.
Form dough into ball and wrap with plastic wrap.
Let dough 'rest' in the refrigerator for an hour or so.
Cut dough into 2 pieces with a knife or dough blade.
Roll out dough into thin strips the thickness of a nickel.
Fill with ravioli filling, brush edges with egg wash, then close and seal individual ravioli dumplings making sure no air is trapped inside them.

1 cup ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces mini portabello mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 cup chopped pine nuts
4 leaves fresh basil, thinly sliced and chopped
Salt and pepper (used some garlic pepper grinder for the pepper and coarse, kosher salt)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  Once it shimmers add the onions and cook until they soften, about five minutes.  Add the mushrooms, basil, and pine nuts and cook until the excess liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms have reduced in volume, about eight minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for thirty seconds.  Remove the pan from the heat to cool slightly.

The amount I made was only enough for one serving because I made it up.  So, if you were to make it, double or triple it.  

3 large tomatoes
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1/4 c. white port wine
1 T. butter
2 T. heavy cream
kosher salt

Place clean, washed tomatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Place on high heat and bring to a boil. When tomato skin cracks well, drain and rinse tomatoes with cold water. Pull skins off. Process tomatoes through a food mill into medium sauce pan. Cook on med-low heat with garlic. About 30-40 minutes until it is reduced. About half-way through, add the white wine. When all liquid is gone, and the sauce is smooth, add the butter and cream. 

Boil finished ravioli in salted, boiling water. Cook for roughly 8 minutes. Drain and serve with sauce. Sprinkle with grated fresh Parmesan and garnish with basil. 


Challenger #2

Homemade Fettucini Alfredo

I absolutely love pasta! I should have been born Italian because everything about Italian food I love. The bread, pasta, pizza, vino...everything! So, naturally for this challenge I needed to make my favorite food (besides homemade pizza)...fettucini alfredo!

Homemade Pasta
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil

Mix flour and salt in bowl. Make a well in center of flour mixture and add eggs, water and oil. Mix thoroughly. Gather dough into a ball and knead for 5 to 10 minutes or 4 minutes if using KitchenAid mixer. Roll dough out flat with rolling pin on flour surface, cut thin strips with pizza cutter lenghtwise and then once down the middle width-wise. Bring water/chicken stock mixture to a boil, add noodles, cook for 2 to 5 minutes.

Homemade Alfredo Sauce
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
Dash of pepper

Heat butter and whipping cream in skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until butter is melted and mixture starts to bubble; reduce heat to low. Simmer 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened; remove from heat. Stir in cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted.


*Don't these girls rock!? Please vote for your favorite pasta - winner gets some Grafton Cheddar.


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